“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all people;
a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Simeon is one of my favorite characters in the bible. There is little we know about him, yet much we can infer.
Simeon was tsadik, “a righteous one”. This title was not just nicety but was a title given to those who most closely followed God’s law, lived with the intention of being righteous above all else. Jesus’ father Joseph was tsadik until he agreed to marry Mary, that was. Marrying a pregnant woman lost him the title. But Simeon was one who lived his life completely for God and His righteousness.
Simeon was most likely Anawim. The Anawim were the pious poor of Israel, those who awaited the coming of Messiah like no others. Both Mary and Joseph, along with Elizabeth and Zechariah, were most likely of the Anawim. These people were most often found around the temple where they worshiped and prayed for the coming Christ.
But Simeon was one more thing. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Big deal, we think, since we are ALL filled with the Holy Spirit. But at this time, before Christ’s ministry, before Pentecost, being filled with the Holy Spirit was rare. And rarer still in the centuries since the prophets stopped prophecying. The Holy Spirit “B.C.” would come upon a person for a God-given task and once the task was complete, would leave them. Few if any could be said that “the Holy Spirit was on him.”
Through the Spirit, Simeon had been told that he would not die before he saw the Messiah, and here Jesus was. And so, with the completion of his ministry, Simeon gives us this beautiful hymn, a hymn we’ll look at more closely tomorrow.
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